George Carey was born on 26th February 1547 to Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon, and Anne Morgan. Henry Carey was the son of Mary Boleyn and if court rumour was to be believed the illegitimate child of Henry VIII. Regardless of whether this is true or not George Carey was the cousin of Elizabeth I.
In 1560 George Carey entered Trinity College, Cambridge. Carey later went on to have a successful military career fighting in the Northern Rebellion in 1569. The Northern Rebellion saw an unsuccessful attempt by Catholic lords to depose Queen Elizabeth I and replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots who they believed was the rightful heir to the English throne. Carey was praised for issuing and winning a challenge he issued to Lord Fleming, commander of Dunbar Castle, in single combat. As a result Carey was knighted for his bravery by Earl of Sussex.
Following his military career Carey made the move into politics and became a Member of Parliament for several terms and for different counties. He served for Hertfordshire in 1571 and Hampshire in 11584, 1586, 1588 and 1592. During his time as an MP Carey’s father died, in 1596, and George inherited the title of 2nd Baron Hunsdon and in 1597 he was also appointed Lord Chamberlain of the Royal Household, again following in his father’s footsteps.
Outside of Carey’s political career in his role as Lord Chamberlain he was a patron of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, a theatre company that included the likes of Richard Burbage and William Shakespeare.
In 1597 Carey was invested as a Knight of the Garter, a prestigious event that was marked with, what is believed to be the first performance of Shakespeare’s ‘Merry Wives of Windsor’.
Carey spent 20 years of his life as governor of the Isle of Wight and during his time there he took command of the island’s defences during the Spanish Armarda.
Carey died on 9th September 1603 from veneral disease and mercury poisoning. He was buried in Westminster Abbey in the Carey vault in the chapel of St John the Baptist.